Creative outlet

Hinsdale Fine Arts Festival features items for all genres and tastes

Photographer Mike Baker started out by training his lens primarily on subjects he thought would have broad appeal.

As he matured as a visual artist, he refocused on images that most captured his own interest.

"After a while I felt like I wasn't really growing that much, so I started shooting the things that I like to shoot," Baker said, noting that the shift has given him a signature style. "Now people can say, 'That looks like something Mike Baker would do.' "

Baker will be among the dozens of artists participating in the Hinsdale Chamber of Commerce's 51st annual Fine Arts Festival Saturday and Sunday, June 1 and 2, in Burlington Park.

A significant aspect of Baker's distinctive approach is his preference to shoot in black and white.

"I've learned over time that once you remove color from a scene, the viewer has to pay attention to other elements in the composition," Baker said. "It's timeless. The images could have been captured today or many years ago."

Baker has become a regular participant in the Fine Arts Fest and has been gratified by the connections he's forged over the years.

"A lot of the folks that come to the Hinsdale show, they're art-savvy," he said. "It's one of my favorite shows to do. The folks that run the event are really good and make sure we have everything we need."

Eva Field, president and CEO of the chamber, said the event benefits artists, art lovers and the local community.

"The Fine Arts Fest is celebrating 51 years of bringing world renowned art to the downtown business district," she said. "It brings foot traffic to many of the unique shops and especially the great selection of restaurants."

Field said 85 artists will be showcased this, both familiar and new to visitors (see sidebar for a full list).

Jewelry artist Jason McLeod was named best new artist after last year's fest. He's back in 2024 with his brand of fine creations in gold, silver, platinum and more.

"I kind of just do my own thing," McLeod said, describing his works as a fusion of futuristic and ancient. "I call it my Time Traveler collection. I like to make stuff that I want to see exist. What I do is more special and unique."

McLeod admits that finding validation for his artistry is a primary driver of his output, which he's been producing for 20 years.

"I find it a very satisfying kind of business," said the Virginia-based McLeod.

He said enjoys coming to the Midwest during his seasonal tour, particularly Hinsdale.

"It's just a really nice well-run show by people who really care about the show. The area's nice and the people come and have a good time - and spend money," McLeod said. "All around it's a nice little gem of a show."

Field said the event attracts visitors from across the region, supporting local shops and restaurants.

"The mission of the chamber is to give opportunities for all businesses that weekend and beyond to welcome back patrons again and again," she said.

Baker said he endeavors to "elevate the ordinary" in his work and is gratified when others see value in that.

"I pretty much take everyday things and capture them in a way that others don't see it," he said, naming architecture and landscape among his frequent subjects. "It's very satisfying that people make it part of their personal collection."

The Fine Arts Festival runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Burlington Park is located at 30 E. Chicago Ave. Visit for more information.

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean